Plans to 'redesign' children's services in Hertfordshire have been met with concern that this will mean a significant reduction in projects for young people, when "the county’s youth services have already been cut to the bone".

Hertfordshire's Liberal Democrats say they are concerned it was decided at a meeting of Hertfordshire County Council’s children’s and education panels this week to consult on cutting more than £1million from services for young people.

The changes are part of a plan to save £3.3million from services designed to provide early help to families and children in Hertfordshire, the group explained. 


Herts county councillor Mark Watkin, the Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, said: "The county’s youth services have already been cut to the bone.

"We were told these cuts could only be achieved by closing some of the 22 youth service buildings and cutting frontline staff.

"This will mean a big reduction in the projects run for young people year-round, cuts in school holiday schemes and an increase in disadvantaged young people failing to find employment or education.

"The council already only provides youth services to those young people who need them most, but this will reduce these still further."


County councillor Steve Jarvis, Lib Dem leader and children’s services spokesperson, said the cuts would be a false economy.

"Everybody who works in children’s services recognises the sort of help the services for young people provide can keep young people’s lives on track," he said.

"The cuts here, and those being considered for the family centres which support younger children, will mean more children at risk and more that have to be looked after by the council.

"Apart from the impact on children’s lives, this will cost the council more money. Just four more children in the most expensive care could wipe out the savings from the cuts in services for young people."


The county council says it faces "significant financial challenges", which mean they have to make "some difficult decisions in order to protect and deliver services for the long-term".

A council spokesperson said: "We are investing an extra £19m in children’s services this year, including £5.2m to support children in our care and £10m for home-to-school transport for children with SEND.

"Continuing to invest in these areas of significant demand and cost pressure has meant we also need to create savings across our services and redesign our early help and youth services."


On July 10, the county council’s cabinet will consider whether to begin a consultation on proposals to redesign these services.

"The proposed changes are intended to provide more targeted youth services, including for those at risk of not being in education, training or work, and to change how we deliver our family help and young people’s services so that they work more closely with community settings such as schools and family hubs," explained the county council spokesperson.

"No decisions have been made, and we recognise the concern potential changes like this can create, which is why we will be holding a three-month consultation before making any decisions."